Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge joins national Red Ribbon anti-drug fight

October 21, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Community Board 10 shows its support for the Red Ribbon Campaign. Community Coordinator Dorothy Garuccio (left), District Manager Josephine Beckmann (center) and Community Assistant JoAnn DelPin placed a ribbon on their office door and plan to decorate trees on Fifth Avenue.
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Red ribbons may look festive, but in Bay Ridge, they have a serious purpose. The neighborhood is getting behind the national Red Ribbon Campaign in a big way.

The Red Ribbon Campaign, which runs Oct. 23-31, is a program founded in 1985 by the organization National Family Partnership (formerly know as the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth) and is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of drug use. Participants show their support by placing red ribbons on their doors and in store windows in their communities and by engaging in dialogues with fellow citizens about stopping drug abuse.

Community Board 10 is solidly behind the effort according to District Manager Josephine Beckmann, who said she has reached out to schools in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, the two communities the board covers, to request their participation.

Beckmann and her staff, Community Coordinator Dorothy Garuccio and Community Assistant JoAnn DelPin placed a large red ribbon on the front door of the community board’s office at 8119 Fifth Ave. and plan to tie red ribbons around trees on their block.

“The community board is a registered participant,” Beckmann told board members on Oct. 20.

Beckmann also reached out to dozens of schools in the neighborhood to urge them to participate in the campaign.

Fontbonne Hall Academy, a Catholic high school for girls on Shore Road, answered the call. The school is holding a special assembly on Oct. 29 where students will hear a presentation by Donna Mae DePola, president and CEO of the Recovery Life & Coaching Academy, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Sunset Park. At the urging of Community Board 10 leaders, who were concerned about increased drug use among young people in the neighborhood, DePola opened a satellite center in Bay Ridge in July.

Beckmann is helping to arrange DePola’s upcoming visit to Fontbonne Hall Academy.

“We want to bring awareness to our students,” teacher Gloria Musto told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday.

Fontbonne Hall Academy conducts anti-drug awareness campaigns every year, according to Musto, who serves as the director of student activities at the school. The school has Fontbonne Against Destructive Decisions (F.A.D.D.), a program coordinated by social studies teacher Christine Wilde and Guidance Director Amelia Maligno that is modeled on the national Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.) program.

“We find that our students take these lessons with them even after they leave our school and go on to college. We often hear that they have organized anti-drug programs at their colleges and even at their work places. It’s very gratifying to us,” Musto said.

For more information on the Red Ribbon Campaign in Bay Ridge, call Community Board 1o at 718-745-6827.

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